Stacking Wood for Winter

The beginning of school is behind us, the cooler evenings and shorter days are starting. It is the harvest time and a time to prepare for the coming winter. There are many things you can do to prepare for the cold season and to keep the costs down through the winter. One of the ways we manage the heating costs is to burn fires in our Masonry Heater fireplace. It was fun this weekend to have the kids help with stacking wood for us and for my...

Staycation – Splurging on a Budget

The Staycation. A vacation choice that is becoming more and more popular, especially with the high price of gas and the exchange rate dipping. It can be a great inexpensive holiday – a way to have a wonderful time away from the day to day schedule. Relaxing, adventurous, fun, quiet – whatever you choose. Staycation: a period in which an individual or family stays home and participates in leisure activities within driving distance, sleeping in their own beds at night (Wikipedia) One of the big benefits of a Staycation is that you are saving on hotels and airfare. Use that big savings to your advantage – and … don’t be afraid to treat yourself. This is still a holiday. Decide how much you will spend, and then spend it! Here are ten great ideas of ways to play. Enjoy – a small splurge is perfect for a Staycation and makes it feel special. Have a great time! Hire a cleaning Service Oh yes … this can feel decadent and is a GREAT way to start and end your staycation. For $80-160 depending on the size and state of your home, you can have a cleaning service come in prepare it for your holiday. Coming into a freshly cleaned home feels wonderful and will ensure you don’t spend your holiday cleaning. Book them to come at the end as well so you can go back to work with your home clean and tidy. Spend the Day on the Beach Set yourself up with a pretty DIY beach tent at the beach. Bring bamboo poles from the garden centre, a pretty...

Boxing Day: Five tips to keep the merry in the holiday

Believe it or not, Boxing Day does have a history that isn’t about shopping.  The day after Christmas was traditionally the day that servants and tradespeople had off, and they received a gift from their employers – their Christmas Box.  It is now a bank holiday, and an opportunity to spend an extra day with family and friends, relaxing and eating leftovers. In recent history, Boxing Day has become a day for massive shopping expeditions. Post-holiday sales used to start in January, but in the last few decades, sales have begun on the 26th.  This shopping day now rivals the American Black Friday with early openings, insane crowds, long lines ups and anti-social behaviour.  Electronics stores, in particular, will have 50-100 people in lines for hours before the stores open. Crazy, I know, and I invite you to skip the chaos and the possibility of overspending.  However, if you are determined to head out to the stores, have fun and start with these five tips. Decide how much you will spend Know your numbers – what you are willing to spend and what your stopping point is.  Consider leaving the credit cards at home and using cash.  It will help you stick to your plan. When you run out of your planned money, go home! Do your research Heading out to wander around the mall with no plan is a recipe for overspending.  Be clear on what you want to purchase.  Check in to see if it fits your overall goals and be clear on what a regular price is so you know if you are getting a deal...

Last minute costume ideas on the cheap

Happy Halloween! It’s tomorrow and you still need a costume – for you or for the kids. Here are four really easy, inexpensive and quick ways to create a costume for the school party, trick or treating or Hallow’s Eve clubbing. Hoodie Animals A solid colour hoodie in any colour can be used to make a hoodie animal.  Scrap pieces of felt  can be used to decorate the hoodie.  You don’t even have to sew by using  fabri-tac glue. Some creativity and a bit of time makes this fun and easy costume.  I bet the kids will want to wear it all the time. If it is good enough for Martha, it is good enough for me. Lego® Man This colourful, fun and simple costume is created with two boxes.  Cut arm, leg and a head hole in the box.  Add some some plastic cups and paint it a bold Lego® colour to create this fun and simple costume.  Tack the small box to a baseball hat turned backwards.  Complete your Lego® Man look by adding like-colour clothing underneath.  Downsize for a kid, upsize for an adult for a big hit. Paint Chip Simple, fun and creative, this costume can be created with $5 from the dollar store.  All you need is poster board, masking tape and paint.  Add a piece of string and a matching t-shirt and you are ready to roll.  If you have a group you can each be a different colour. Ladybug For a few dollars and a bit of time, you can create this great costume.  Make the ladybug wings with red and black...

Gratitude Tree

After a beautiful long weekend here in central Ontario, I am diving back into the thick of things.  I know I have had a lot of information in the Karen Recommends section for entrepreneurs lately.  I also know that not all of my readers are entrepreneurs.   Don’t fret! There will be more to come for everyone in the next weeks and months.  I have cool things brewing … I am pleased to have Ivy Slater kick off the Halloween topic with her guest article this week.   I hope you enjoy it. Thanks Ivy! As things get busy into Halloween and then the holiday season, keep with you the gratitude and thanks giving you felt this weekend.  My nieces and nephews and I created a Gratitude Tree this weekend.  We decorated a beautiful branch and made tags to write the things for which we are thankful.  It was fun and a great memory for the upcoming...

Canadian Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving.  I love this time of year.  Crisp mornings and beautiful colours.  Farmer’s markets and turkey dinners. For our American friends, this weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving and I love it! After a very full week of client meetings and planning, I am really excited about celebrating with my wonderful family.  We walk in the woods, enjoy the autumn sun in the yard and the kids usually jump in the lake one last time.  I might even go out on my stand up paddle board one last time to enjoy the colours. How do you celebrate the abundance of the harvest time?  I hope you enjoy this week’s article about ways to celebrate this time of year and get the great benefits that gratitude has on your life. Enjoy!  Blessings to you and...